July 28, 2022 Subject:
Quint of the quad
This is one of the quintessential, must-hear Dead shows. It also has the sequence [Dark Star>St. Stephen] that caused several generations of Heads to first buy tix out of curiosity, after they put the needle on Side 1 of Live/Dead (and Side 2) several times. To the tape collectors it became one of the long-beloved, historic shows. And for good reason – it' s one of year's top few shows. This run came the day after gigs by Mickey & the Hartbeats. The band had just played the FillW the week before, but booked these show for intentionally making a live LP, hauling a then-newly-invented 16-track machine up the stairs into the ballroom (still huge, heavy, w/fragile tubes). Aware they are recording for prosperity, they focus accordingly, playing a specific set. They did this for four nights but it was this show that had the most consistent performances. The show has appeared on five OFF releases (6 counting the Live/Dead remix), and there are four distinct mixes of the material. It would be silly to describe them since LIA already wrote a scholarly analysis.
First Set. The first 13secs of Good Morning, School Girl are AUD-only. On the OFF, the first 51secs are from 4/25/69. This is a classic version, with just the right amount of everything. Billy then joins for an archetypal Doin' That Rag. The next night actually has the That's it for the Other One Suite that they were looking for, though this one is still quite good. So Many Roads has better separation here; the box mix has louder drums. A 3-song first set was not unusual at the time, especially on a bill with other bands. The stuff they'd been playing every night was certainly solid, but it's played with an awareness of being captured by the pioneering crucible of 16-track technology. Bobby says they are bringing out the monkeys, but he does not mean Nesmith & Dolenz
Second Set. Dupree's is the sixth one, and it's interesting to note this was the first time Jer & Bobby played acoustic guitars together on a San Fran stage. Mountains of the Moon is also the sixth one and has a great jam. Of course the end of this is the beginning of side one of Live/Dead, so it was exciting for every Head to hear this pre-intro for the first time. It's probably redundant to say more about this Dark Star that so many have memorized over the decades. The box set version turns up (and adds reverb to) Jer's guitar and vox, and mixes out some elements, like the guiro. You can hear Bobby best on Live/Dead, which also has a little added reverb. Personally, I don't prefer the box mix that moves Jer's guitar around in the stereo image, and the "SBD" is kind of dry. I like the original vinyl [Dark Star classic formula], followed by the the 2001 CD remix. Blair said, about this St. Stephen, "It’s big, bold and has both punch and crunch." I like it because it has distinct sections, all played well. The original LP cuts away to an earlier The Eleven, but this version is just as good! The Phil maelstrom is impressive, if also bewildering. The 16-track/SBD has a cut of 32secs at 11mins [timing of 132573_sbd]. However the OFF has a Duophonic mono patch [btw, where did this come from? Maybe Bear's distorted SBD had one usable channel?]. I made a copy that lessened the abrupt patch by crossfading with 132573_sbd. Love Light isn't the best of the era (since we have almost 100 of the more than 100 they played in '69). The long middle vamp is a you-had-to-be-there moment [the OFF needs +1% pitch correction for the first 5mins]. Cosmic Charlie is tighter than a sardine butt and a superb finish. [OFF needs +1% from 0:00>1:30].
1st Set: B+ 2nd Set: A
Overall = 5 stars
Good Morning, School Girl – the right amount of everything
Doin' That Rag – concentrating on a precise version
Second Set – whole set; multiple peaks
SOURCES: "SBD" is a misnomer – there is no two-track source made on the live board, only 16-track mixdowns. The remastered version is 132573_sbd, but School Girl is patched on sbd_16track_kaplan-6315. There is also a partial, fifth source: an AUD of the first three songs (as well as a subsequent MTX). The 153339_PandP has the Bill Graham intro and Full Schoolgirl [needs -1% pitch]. Live/Dead has Dark Star>St. Stephen. That album was remixed in 2001 and all subsequent releases feature the new mix. So Many Roads has the TiftOO Suite, using the '90s Healy mixdown (as do "SBDs"). Fillmore West 1969 box has the whole show (except the beginning of School Girl) in a new mix . A 5-record breakout of this mix was released on vinyl. The three-disc Fillmore West Compilation has Cosmic Charlie.
May 17, 2021 Subject:
Top 5 show
Don't ask me what the other four are, I just know this is one of 'em.
April 29, 2021 Subject:
mountains into dark star is brilliant.
this is one of my favorite live duprees
and that lovelight is fire god damn!!!!
February 28, 2020 Subject:
Fillmore West '69, N1
Primal five-star dead. Pure fire. *This classic Dark Star->St. Stephen appears on Live/Dead and Cosmic Charlie is highlighted on Fillmore West 1969.
February 27, 2017 Subject:
March 14, 2016 Subject:
Great to hear this for real
Dark Star from this night is THE QUINTESSENTIAL 60's DS, hands down. All through the song, the band shows such presence, every member has his finger on the pulse of where he fits in, where the music has been, where it is, and where it's going. At about the 11:00 minute mark, the psychelia truly begins with Jerry's sequence of ta-da-DAs, and peaks at about 14:20 - 14:40 with bizarre vocalizations, a shrieking sound, and something like Road Runner on a trampoline. From there, the band works its way back to firmer ground and puts together the loudest, most rocking part of the jam, then mellows out a bit before beginning the closing section. I love how Jerry's guitar goes from fuzzy to ear-piercing just like that.
As to the sound, the CD version of Live Dead is better than the vinyl, but this is better still. You don't hear as much washboard, but you hear very clearly and crisply Bob's creative rhythm guitar, and Tom's keys are clearly audible which they are not always on the record.
July 11, 2015 Subject:
Blows Live Dead away
As much as I've enjoyed that seminal album over the years, this version strips away the filters like a heavy dose of Owsley. Hear it the way it actually sounded.
April 15, 2015 Subject:
It's too weird, man. Utterly weird. Beyond the fuckin pale.
Garcia had no idea how appropriate those words would be years later. Of all 60s Dead shows, this is the one I would use to introduce new listeners. Fitting that much of this first night of a run at the Fillmore went on the Live/Dead album.
To the GD family: thank you, thank you, thank you for allowing this show to be streamed on the Archive again. I've been critical about some of your choices in the past, but never let it be said that I was ungrateful when somebody did the right thing. I listened to this while building guitar effects pedals for a very Alembic-like company, and had such a wonderful time that I can honestly say today was one of the high points in all my 45 years so far. I love you. Thanks.
March 15, 2015 Subject: